Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Ten Commandments

For those of you unaware, years ago my long-time poker coach (herein this blog referred to as either the Guru or Poker Moses) had a handful of "commandments" that he liked to pass along to beginning students to help them fix common leaks in their game. The original list had utility, but frankly was also a bit disorganized and unfocused. It did have, however, the makings of being a very useful tool for new students to the game; it just needed some polish. Enter this bug.

Long story short: I talked the Guru into allowing me to interview him over the course of a couple of months on the subject of his commandments. The goal was for us to retool and reorganize this list into a more cohesive and logical group (as well as to serve as the basis of a book project he and I were working on at the time). Anyway, at the end of that effort, we ended up with a nice round (divine?) number of ten commandments that are at the heart of winning poker. Don't get me wrong: these Ten Commandments of Winning Poker are absolutely the Guru's, but I take a  measure of pride in knowing I helped get them down onto paper, organized, and into a more logical and useful format:

  1. Thou Shall Be Prepared To Play
  2. Thou Shall Maximize Edge
  3. Thou Shall Play Position Poker
  4. Thou Shall Pay Attention
  5. Thou Shall Be Aggressive
  6. Thou Shall Know--And Apply--The Math
  7. Thou Shall Protect Thy Bankroll
  8. Thou Shalt Not Tilt
  9. Thou Shall Keep Records
  10. Thou Shall Play With Heart

You could fill a book with these commandments (and in fact if the Guru and I ever get our act together, we might actually finish the aforementioned book project that are based on them). But I digress. The reason I bring the list up again today is that I've been on a small downward slide in the past week. Whenever I find myself in the middle of a multi-day losing streak (or even just a long break-even stretch), one of the most important things I do (often after talking to the Guru) is to go back and review my game against the backdrop of the 10 Cs. Many times I have found I'm violating one or more the commandments without realizing it, and plugging those leaks has refloated my sinking ship.

Well, guess what? I've discovered that I'm in moving violation of a number of the commandments. Specifically, numbers 1, 4, and 7 have been woefully missing from my game this past week. I'm just jumping into tables whenever I have a moment to spare (not Preparing to Play), I'm trying to multi-task on other non-poker things while playing (not Paying Attention), and I'm playing in $200NL and $400NL games that I really can't afford to be in (not Protecting my Bankroll).

Sigh. Once again, I find myself back in Sunday school, relearning the inviolate rules of the religion of poker. Forgive me, Moses, for I have sinned.

All-in for now...


  1. There's gold in these past blog posts. Thanks for sharing the journey.

  2. Glad to be of help, but the truth is writing this blog has helped me as much as anyone. Cheers!